THROUGH THE BIBLE IN THREE YEARS

This program of daily Scripture studies is designed to help you in daily honoring God with adoration.

Each day, Monday through Friday, a Scripture with commentary is posted.

We have a great friend in Gary Godard. He has set up an archive page. To view ALL the prior Scripture studies by book and chapter, just clik


HERE.

Bro. Bruce's commentaries for the books of Genesis through Obadiah are
now available in hard copy for $17.50. (Smaller books are only $9:50) Just mail your request for COMMENTARY ON (BOOK NAME) to:

Bruce McGee
P.O. Box 1627
Columbia, LA 71418

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE STUDY

MATTHEW

CHAPTER 8

1 When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

Jesus had gone on the mountain to teach his disciples (see commentary on Matthew 5:1). Some of the multitude had followed Him there, and now they were following Him again. Jesus was very popular with the common people because He was constantly healing people (See commentary on Matthew 4:23-25).

As soon as Jesus came down from the mountain, a great crowd gathered, and this one man, a leper, came forward. Now, lepers were to keep their distance. And if someone approached them, they were to cover themselves and cry out "UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!" But this man came forward toward Jesus. Under those circumstances, one can imagine that the remainder of the crowd backed up.

The word used for "worshipped" is from the Greek word proskuneo (pros-koo-neh'-o), meaning to fall prostrate before Him. This was genuine and sincere faith. The leper demonstrated his faith by his statement: "LORD, if Thou wilt,....." The emphasis of the leper's statement was on the faith he had of Jesus' Lordship and power. He BELIEVED Jesus could heal him, he KNEW Jesus could heal him.

Before we go farther, let's get an understanding of the word "faith" (Greek pistis). Suppose I stretch a tightrope across Niagara Falls, then I take a wheel barrow and walk across. Then I take the same wheel barrow and come back across. You are standing there, and I ask you if you believe I can do it again. You say, "Yes," and I say, "OK. HOP IN!" If you really BELEIVE, then you will get in the wheel barrow. This leper was getting IN the wheel barrow!

In verse 3, we should understand that the touching of the leper and the pronouncement to "be thou clean" was simultaneous action. For a rabbi or priest to touch something unclean meant that the rabbi or priest became unclean. Jesus healed the man with His WORD, and touched him to let others know that he was clean. Remember, there was a multitude present.

Now, if a multitude had already seen Him heal the man, why would Jesus make a statement like verse 4? What Jesus wanted was a testimony from the man to the priests. Under Hebrew law, when a person was cleansed from leprosy, he was to go to the priest and let the priest pronounce him clean (See Leviticus 13:13) .

The pronouncement of the leper being cleansed would become a ceremonial testimony to Jesus as LORD, for NO man could heal leprosy! In fact, Jesus charged the man to immediately go and tell the priest, and not stop to tell anyone else on the way. However, Mark 1:45 (I believe records the same instance) tells us that the man told everyone, and it became a hindrance to Jesus' ministry.

Upon that understanding, let me make the following statement. Faith in Christ without involvement in a local church can be a hindrance to Jesus' ministry.

5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. 7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. 8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

"Centurians" were men who commanded a hundred other men in a Roman legion. Throughout the New Testament they are presented as men of moral character. (See Mark 15:39, and Acts 10:1-8 ). This man, then, was probably a Gentile.

Having moral character does not necessarily mean having faith. However, this man displayed extraordinary faith. When Jesus said, "I will come and heal him," the Centurion replied it was not necessary. He KNEW all Jesus had to do was "say the WORD" and it would be done! This statment reflected that the Centurion KNEW that Jesus was LORD, and that distance does not limit God in action!

Jesus remarked, for the crowd's sake, how GREAT was this Centurion's faith! He had not witnessed this strength of faith in any of His own people! Jesus also used this opportunity to deliver a sermonic prophecy: "..many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven."

Perhaps none understood the import of that statement in the day Jesus spoke it. But now, after the death, burial, resurrection and promised return of our Lord, it is understood. There will be MANY Gentiles in heaven sitting right alongside Hebrew heroes of faith! And there will be many Hebrews who did not believe in Jesus as Lord, and they will NOT HAVE heaven! (See verse 12)

The entrance to heaven is by surrender to Christ as Lord, and there is NO OTHER WAY! (See John 14:6 ).

When the centurion left, the healing of his servant took place in "the selfsame hour" that Jesus had spoken.

These two instances have shown us that:
First, the local church is an integral part of surrender to Christ as Lord, and,
Second, religious affiliation has little to do with genuine faith in Christ.

14 And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. 15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them. 16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

Peter's mother-in-law was ill when they arrived. Since Jesus (and a large company) were probably expected, this was a traumatic illness. Jesus "touched" her and healed her. The healing was so complete that she immediately arose and "ministered" to Jesus and the company.

Probably, after they had received a meal, then others were brought to Jesus for healing. Verse 16 tells us that Jesus healed by speaking with "His WORD." Then Matthew uses this instance to impart a tremendous truth. The fact that Jesus healed them fulfilled Old Testament prophecy (See Isaiah 53:1-6 ).

To Matthew, and to all those who believe, Jesus can heal physically because He can heal spiritually. He Himself can put away the ultimate cause of our diseases, sicknesses, and infirmities - sin!

18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. 19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

As we shall see in the following Scripture, Jesus was headed for the country of the "Gergesenes," or Gadarenes, or about 6 miles Southeast of the Sea of Galilee. Presently they were at Peter's house, which was located in or near Capernaum. Capernaum was located on the Northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee. In order to get to Gadara, they had to travel by ship across the Northern portion of the Sea of Galilee.

Probably, on the way to the ship, a man approached Jesus and wanted to become a disciple. This man was a "scribe," which in a general since meant "lawyer" - one who studied and applied the Hebrew law. Mostly, scribes did not believe and trust in Jesus. But this man showed a desire to go with Christ. Note that he addressed Jesus as "MASTER."

However, our Lord, being omniscient, saw that this man needed to understand the COST of following Christ. Jesus used this opportunity to address "counting the cost" in personal surrender to Him. In His answer to the scribe, Jesus referred to Himself as "Son of man," which is an equivalent to "Son of God." Though Jesus is equivalent to God spiritually, He came to earth to be "Servant," and enjoyed no particular privilege. Prior to this time, the scribe probably enjoyed the comforts of life. But now he would face poverty and an unpopular position.

There was another man present, who was already a disciple (See verse 21). He posed a problem to Jesus. His father had died, and he felt an obligation to be with the family. Jesus took this opportunity to address allegiance in our personal surrender to Him. Sometimes, the disciple must lay aside that which we ordinarily would do, in order to perform that for which we are extraordinarily called. From Jesus' words, we gather that the disciple's family were not of faith in Christ. For His statement was that the "spiritually dead" are quite capable of caring for the physically dead.

Ordinarily, we, as humans, do what we want to do. But when we are "called" of Christ, we are to perform that for which we are "extraordinarily" called: and, that is to lead the spiritually dead into LIFE with Christ!

23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. 24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. 26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. 27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

Now, it was evening, and Jesus was taking the disciples across the Northern portion of the Sea of Galilee on a ship. The Sea of Galilee is notorious for evening storms. Do you think the storm took Jesus by surprise?

While others were obviously fretting about the storm, Jesus was peacefully asleep. There is definitely something to be said about "Peace In The Midst Of The Storm!" When the soul is perfectly at peace with God, there is peace even when the world is raging!

Jesus Himself had commanded the ship to go across the sea. Why were they fretting? After all, He was WITH them.

Notice that Jesus did not say they had a LACK of faith, but rather they had "little faith." He certainly recognized the faith they had in Him, for they were coming to Him for help. But He was slightly chastising them for being unnecessarily fearful.

What is a "lack of faith?" Faith is given when we are saved, but it is also something that must grow. It is something that has to be learned. One need not sow weeds and thorns, they grow naturally. Neither must one sow discontent, malice, covetousness, etc. They are seeds that grow naturally to man. However corn, wheat, beans, etc. must be sown and then cultivated in order to grow and bear fruit. And so it is with faith. The "seed" of faith has already been sown in our lives through surrender to Jesus. However, we are to CULTIVATE that seed and allow it to GROW!

Would you, Christian, experience strong faith in the difficulties of life? Then remember, you are a new creature in Christ Jesus. The seed is planted, you must cultivate.

Read the Word.
Heed the Word.
Live the Word.
Let disciplined education cultivate the plant until the fruit is received.

Notice verse 27. Our Lord allows us to be "in the storm" at times. He expects us to be fruitful for Him during those times because He is WITH us. And we must remember, that He who led us INTO the storm can QUIET the storm!

Jesus, OWNS the wind (See Psalm 135:7) And Jesus also "gathers the winds in His fist" (See Proverbs 30:4). And Jesus can keep you in "perfect peace" through the winds and storms (See Isaiah 26:3).

28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. 29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? 30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. 31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. 32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. 33 And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. 34 And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.

Both Mark and Luke record this incident (See Mark 5:1-13 and Luke 8:26-39). I don't know why Mark and Luke record only one demoniac. Perhaps he is the only one who wanted to follow Jesus and Jesus told him to "Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee." (Mark 5:19)

This one demoniac is obviously the one who had told everyone, and that's why the people gladly received Jesus on His next visit to their country (See Mark 6:53-56).

The main thing to see here is that Jesus has:
1) Power to heal those possessed of demons, and
2) Power over demons themselves.

The demons recognized Jesus and caused the possessed men to come to Him. Then they called Him by name "Jesus, thou Son of God."

They also knew it was not "the time" for eternal judgment upon all beings. Demons know "the time" is coming, but they are not repentant. They know that Jesus is the Eternal Judge, but they are not submissive. (See James 2:19)

These demons also recognized Jesus' power over them, and knew His intention to cast them out of the men they were possessing. They requested that He allow them to enter the herd of swine nearby. And Jesus gave them permission. Can you imagine what a SHOCK that was to the poor pigs?! They ran headlong over a cliff into the sea!

The two men were immediately healed, and ran to tell the whole town (verse 33). The town came out to "see" Jesus, but they were afraid of losing more property. They overlooked the HEALING because they were focused on selfish desires!

There are many people today who overlook the power Jesus can have on their lives because they are too focused on selfish desires.

Jesus desires to heal our souls and put us in a right relationship with Him.
Jesus desires to prepare our souls for "the time," that great eternal judgment day.
He can, and He will. All it takes is repentance and submission to Him!

PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US IN BIBLE STUDY TOMORROW.